Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Life Lessons And Assets At a Little House

An asset can sometimes seem like a liability.

My sister and I are beginning the work of rehabilitating the little rental house we inherited. When we extricated the last tenants, whom we also inherited, it was a mess. 

No use recriminating about that. Now we are in the "going forward phase" and hoping not to foul up doing that.

That is where the sink once was in the small bathroom. I photographed my foot to help the photo's perspective.

The workmen arrived on Monday and hauled out everything from the house that wasn't nailed down--including all the appliances and gnarly necessities in the kitchen and bath. The carpet came up from the floor and the ancient blinds came down from the windows. 

It smells a lot better than it did. But what do you suppose people were doing on the oak floor?

The floor of one of the bedrooms.

The good news about wood floors is that they can be repaired and are a lot more durable than carpets. At least I always thought so.

I don't know what made this mess but I didn't want my toe to get any nearer. It looks like a leaky television set sat here: but can television sets leak?

What is difficult about all this is to not be emotional. I was a teen when my father took the pennies he had saved and bought this place. I remember how he and my mother managed the little house with care, nurtured its garden, and rented it only to those they thought would do the same.

It makes my heart ache to think that my parents were smart enough to make this investment and yet did not plan for a time when they might be incapacitated and could no longer manage it. Nor imagine the vultures out there waiting to take advantage of sick old people.

That is either egoism or the failure of imagination--or both. And I don't like to think of my parents that way.

My sister and I would have been honored to help. We are having to work on the darn place anyway--now. 

Is a kitchen a kitchen without a sink and appliances?

It was so gut-wrenching at first that I wanted to sell the place. But that was not wise. Repair is wise. Investments should not involve emotion.

This experience is full of life lessons. It will be fascinating to watch the rehab. One thing I have learned--as did all those people who entrusted their savings to people like Bernie Madoff: there is no investment you can leave on automatic pilot.

If you do that, you may end up at a destination you did not expect. 

You may end up in a dump. Or owning one.

Floor transition from kitchen to living room. Weird!

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